Dec 9, 2014 10:20 AM

Girl power: Friends shot with Malala share her joy

The Associated Press

OSLO, Norway (AP) Malala Yousafszai wasn't alone when she was shot by the Taliban for having the temerity to demand an education.

Two other girls were also attacked that day in Pakistan and Malala hasn't forgotten them. She brought her friends with her to Oslo, Norway, so they can share her joy as she receives the Nobel Peace Prize.

Shazia Ramazan, 16, and Kainat Riaz, 17, hugged their friend and posed for pictures with her Tuesday before telling reporters that all three are bound together in what they called "Mission Malala" joining with people around the world to make sure that young girls get a chance to study.

"When you are educated, you are able to do everything," Riaz said. "If you are not educated, you can't do anything."

Girl power was hard won for these two. Both suffered severe wounds in the Oct. 8, 2012 Taliban attack. Malala was airlifted to a British hospital, but Ramazan and Riaz stayed behind.

Police escorted them to school. But they were determined to go and it made them appreciate it all the more.

The girls are now studying in Wales within the castle-like walls of UWC Atlantic College. Both want to be doctors.

"The Malala mission is our mission. She's my friend," Riaz said. "And she inspired us. Inshallah, we will always support her."

Their affection is clear. When the girls hug, they are just so happy. And in that way that teenagers are happy, they are also 1,000 percent certain that they have everything to live for.

They are proud Malala raised her voice, even if it caused them pain. They want their country to share, to bask in the spotlight and to fight for learning.

So here in this corner of Norway, everyone is just a bit focused on Pakistan.

"Our heart is in Pakistan," Ramazan said. "Everyone will be proud today for Malala."


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